How To Make The Most Of Making Up

All couples argue, at least from time to time.

When fighting gets heated and partners are angry with each other they may say or do things they later regret.

Doors slam, voices raise, silent treatment ensues, and partners roll over without saying good night.

Although all couples argue, surveys have shown that many couples escalate from a normal disagreement or argument to full blown fighting once or more per month.

This includes unfair or unhealthy fighting where spouses show contempt for one another.

However difficult it may be, healing or making up from a contemptuous, ugly fight must be done if partners want to go on.

Making up and making peace is an integral part of a successful marriage. To make up well you need tools, willingness and a good strategy.

Without a plan for setting things right, relationship repair is rarely effective or lasting.

In business relationships, friendships, or even brush-ups with strangers on the street, awareness, and acknowledgment are key. Both help you to move forward amicably, feeling validated.

Maybe this takes paperwork and negotiations; maybe it takes a few words and a handshake. The point is, to make up the most productive and rewarding way possible, you make the time to do it right.

Unfortunately, this concept is often lost when feathers get ruffled at home.

Deeper emotional connections and expectations can confuse things if you’re ill prepared for conflict.

Without the benefit of excellent childhood models or solid marriage counseling, many couples find that dust-ups get swept under the rug or arguments are stashed away in a mental file marked ”resentment.”

Even worse, some grudges get buried in the name of harmony, only to erupt more explosively later, when the same argument is revisited again.

Making up is serious business…and with a little work, partners can make the most of it.

How To Make The Most Of Making Up

1. Take Some Time To Calm Down

After a heated argument emotions may be too high to have a conversation about what happened. Agree to a cool down period, a few hours, a day or even 2 days.

Don’t overthink the issue. The objective is to let yourself gain perspective and control over your emotions.

During this period think about how you were feeling when the fight occurred and what you might have done differently if you weren’t so emotional at the time.

2. Get Ready To Listen

You may have already heard of the term “Active Listening”. It is a skill that takes practice and a willingness to exercise restraint from jumping in or interrupting to defend yourself.

It requires that you engage with your partner by indicating that you understand what they are saying by focusing on them, asking relevant questions and even summarizing what you heard.

Don’t let your ego drive your behavior. Recognize that your objective is to understand more about what is actually going on between you.

3. Begin With Yourself

Explain how you were feeling at the time. (You will have had the time to consider this during the cooling off period).

This is not the time you blame the fight on your spouse but more the time you offer them insight into your point of view.

Start each observation with the pronoun “I”. For example: “I felt or feel disrespected or criticized. etc”.

Your partner will need to listen and respect your feelings.

4. Take The Heat Like A Mature Adult

Recognize your part in the fight. What did you do to either cause it or escalate it?

You need to understand yourself and your tendencies to either become defensive or aggressive under certain circumstances.

Have you been too sensitive, too intolerant, too quick to jump to conclusions?

You also need to own your contribution to the conflict.

5. Rewrite It In Order To Repair It

Once you both have discussed your respective roles in the conflict, you can benefit greatly by rewriting them.

The idea here is that most arguments have a reoccurring theme. When there is an ugly fight, it typically occurs because of some aspect of that theme getting triggered.

For example, one partner may have felt taken for granted or unacknowledged for some time. When something comes up that triggers that feeling it might provoke a fight.

Taking the time to rewrite your role means that you express to your spouse what you would do differently the next time these feelings get triggered.

Here the two of you work together on improving the script

6. Reestablish Your Relationship As Your Priority

It’s easy to take a long-term relationship for granted. A strong effort at making up should put your partner and your connection back in its rightful place: At the top of your list.

Life will always try to get in the way. Sharing those stresses and responsibilities with your partner can make it bearable…even enjoyable.

Wasn’t that the point?

Make it a point to plan time together, call or text something meaningful at least once a day. Have a standing date every evening to touch base and actually care for each other.

Don’t let your efforts fade or become predictable. Make the most of making up by making a habit of prioritizing your relationship.

Emotions run high when differences become disagreements. Healthy relationships can handle the strain.

The goal is to take care of each other, to keep your union cared for. Even when the moment causes you to feel that you don’t like each other much, make up quickly and make up well.

If you find that to be too difficult right now, it’s also okay to seek some help in marriage counseling.

Don’t wait until making up seems impossible and breaking up feels like your only option.

Your relationship can be your best work and making up can be a creative and restorative process that supports the happily ever after you build together successfully, day by day.

Other Articles Of Interest:

Is Your Relationship Healthy? Take The Quiz.

How To Have A Difficult Conversation

Agreeing To Disagree: A Path To Conflict Resolution


Dr. Stan Hyman is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach in private practice in Miami, Florida. He works with couples struggling with powerful issues such as infidelity, careers and intimacy. He also specializes in treating addictions, anger, anxiety, stress, depression and work life balance.